How much will it cost?
For many small businesses, the key issue in all this is cost. The good news is that you can get lots of help from the government who are particularly keen to help small businesses. Again, your local Tec should be your first port of call to find out what is available.
Many people ask how much they should be spending on training. There is no easy answer, of course. It depends on what you are trying to achieve, how skilled your employees are, and what your priorities are.
But if you want to know what other people spend, then the National Employer Skills Survey 2005 found that in a year, the t otal training expenditure equated to an average spend of £1,550 per employee.
Train to Gain Skills Brokers can help you arrange training, as well as assess how much it will costs, and what your return on investment might be. Skills Brokers operate regionally and you can find your nearest one on 08000 15 55 45 or on www.traintogain.gov.uk
As of September 1st 1999, employers are obliged to give certain young employees time off work on full pay to study. Both 16 and 17 year olds who do not hold a Level 2 equivalent qualification, educational jargon for 5 GCSEs at grades A-C, an NVQ Level 2 or an Intermediate GNVQ, are entitled to reasonable paid time off during normal working hours. If you think this could affect you, visit the government's website http://www.dfes.gov.uk/tfstfor more information.
If these regulations seem rather draconian, bear in mind what the government is up against in its drive to up-skill the country's workforce.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses over 94.4% of all businesses employ fewer than 10 people and 99.6 per cent of all business employ fewer than 100. In fact, only 0.2% of UK businesses are not small.
Advocates of training and development will tell you that in the light of these figures, the high proportion of small businesses that fail in their early years is not surprising.
Training should not be viewed as a cost, but as an investment that will generate returns. Do it properly and enthusiastically and you will see the rewards.